Canada’s Pipeline Purchase Won't Quell Foes But May Disable Them

Share

The deal was approved by cabinet on Tuesday morning and is now subject to approval by Kinder Morgan stockholders. Again, all of this makes good financial sense for Canada but it's a bit surprising that Justin Trudeau is willing to directly challenge the environmental left to make this happen.

"We said we would get the pipeline built and we are getting it built", she said, flanked by her celebratory caucus at a news conference overlooking the Alberta Legislature. Ottawa will buy the pipeline and all of Kinder Morgan's core assets for $4.5-billion, including pumping stations and rights of way along the route between Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as the marine terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The deal ensures construction that was suspended April 8 by Kinder Morgan's jittery investors will now begin immediately under the ownership of a Crown corporation, with plans for the federal government to seek other investors to soon take it over.

British Columbia, the birthplace of Greenpeace, provides critical ocean access to get Canada's landlocked exports out of oil-rich Alberta to new buyers. "There is more work to do, but we will not stop until the job is done".

Ottawa has the constitutional authority to build interprovincial projects like pipelines, but B.C. Premier John Horgan has gone to court to get a judge to weigh in on whether B.C.'s jurisdiction for the environment would allow him to regulate what flows through the pipeline.

Discussing the plan on Tuesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government acted to remove political uncertainty and ensure the project goes forward as the summer construction season nears.

Indigenous leaders, who have been at the forefront of a grassroots campaign against the Trans Mountain project, have vowed that the pipeline "will never be built". "We'll probably be able to roll out those details, that information, a bit more in the days to come but I'm not going to do it today", said Notley, who noted the province may end up putting no money toward the project.

The Alberta government responded with a short-lived ban on the import of B.C. wines, and the passing of Bill 12, legislation that would allow the Alberta government to "turn off the taps" for oil imports to B.C. Kinder Morgan had paused non-essential spending on the project over disputes between provincial governments in Alberta and B.C.

Many indigenous people see the new pipeline as a threat to their lands, echoing concerns raised by Native Americans about the Keystone XL project in the US. But it's awful news for Canadian taxpayers who will ultimately have to bear the cost.

"We have agreed to a fair price for our shareholders", said Steve Kean, chief executive officer of Kinder Morgan Canada and Kinder Morgan Inc.

The pipeline has become a flash point for a wider debate in Canada over the environmental impact of tapping Alberta's oil sands, which critics view as a particularly polluting energy source.

Until now, Trudeau's government has used a soft tone to try to convince British Columbia to abandon its opposition to the pipeline, hoping not to alienate voters in the province before next year's general election.

Share